in·​still | \ in-ˈstil How to pronounce instill (audio) \
instilled; instilling; instills

Definition of instill

transitive verb

1 : to cause to enter drop by drop instill medication into the infected eye
2 : to impart gradually instilling a love of learning in children

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Other Words from instill

instillation \ ˌin(t)-​stə-​ˈlā-​shən How to pronounce instillation (audio) , -​(ˌ)sti-​ \ noun
instiller \ in-​ˈsti-​lər How to pronounce instiller (audio) \ noun
instillment \ in-​ˈstil-​mənt How to pronounce instillment (audio) \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for instill

implant, inculcate, instill, inseminate, infix mean to introduce into the mind. implant implies teaching that makes for permanence of what is taught. implanted a love of reading in her students inculcate implies persistent or repeated efforts to impress on the mind. tried to inculcate in him high moral standards instill stresses gradual, gentle imparting of knowledge over a long period of time. instill traditional values in your children inseminate applies to a sowing of ideas in many minds so that they spread through a class or nation. inseminated an unquestioning faith in technology infix stresses firmly inculcating a habit of thought. infixed a chronic cynicism

Examples of instill in a Sentence

a charismatic leader who instilled in his followers a passionate commitment to the cause
Recent Examples on the Web That fatalism had been instilled not just by a century of run-of-the-mill incompetence, but also by the Curse of the Billy Goat, the black cat that walked in front of Ron Santo, the Gatorade spilled on Leon Durham’s glove, and poor Steve Bartman. David Baumgarten, The Atlantic, "So Long, Joe Maddon," 10 Oct. 2019 My parents and my grandparents instilled in me the importance of education, and that drew me to it. Sam Pierce, Arkansas Online, "Beebe Junior High School principal looks to make an influence," 30 Dec. 2019 Stepping outside of the bubble of your community can instill empathy and give you a new perspective. Adam Schubak, Redbook, "Things I Learned About Life Over the Past Decade," 27 Nov. 2019 Immediately after the attacks, J&K police chief, Dilbagh Singh, visited Shopian along with senior army and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) officials to instill confidence among fruit growers and traders. Riyaz Wani, Quartz India, "India’s Article 370 gambit has created a new arena of violence: Kashmir’s apple orchards," 29 Oct. 2019 Those years had instilled in her a powerful foundation for life as a performer, thanks to singing lessons and the pressure of having to work to support her family financially. Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic, "The Charming Candor of Julie Andrews’s New Memoir," 16 Oct. 2019 His grand plan is to instill an ethos in which materials used in products, not only in the energy sector but in consumer goods, are recaptured for use in the next (usually better) iteration. Scientific American, "Breathing new life into renewable energy," 9 Oct. 2019 Two activists filed legal challenges on grounds the ban would instill fear and curtail freedom of speech, but a court denied their request for an injunction. John Leicester And Eileen Ng,, "Thousands protest mask ban as Hong Kong leader toughens stance," 4 Oct. 2019 The clergy and royal courts in days of yore used images of griffins, hellmouths, harpies, dragons and sea swine to instill fear, to divide anxious populations, to assert dominance and control, and to ostracize non-Europeans. Steven Litt,, "‘Medieval Monsters’ exhibit at Cleveland Museum of Art surveys images used to inspire fear, hatred and wonder," 1 Sep. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'instill.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of instill

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for instill

Middle English, from Latin instillare, from in- + stillare to drip, from stilla drop

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Time Traveler for instill

Time Traveler

The first known use of instill was in the 15th century

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Statistics for instill

Last Updated

22 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Instill.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 27 January 2020.

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More Definitions for instill


How to pronounce instill (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of instill

: to gradually cause someone to have (an attitude, feeling, etc.)


in·​still | \ in-ˈstil How to pronounce instill (audio) \
instilled; instilling

Kids Definition of instill

: to put into the mind little by little Patience with the ways of nature had been instilled in her by her father.— Jean Craighead George, Julie of the Wolves
in·​still | \ in-ˈstil How to pronounce instill (audio) \
instilled; instilling

Medical Definition of instill

: to cause to enter especially drop by drop instill medication into the infected eye

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More from Merriam-Webster on instill

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for instill

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with instill

Spanish Central: Translation of instill

Nglish: Translation of instill for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of instill for Arabic Speakers

Comments on instill

What made you want to look up instill? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


one that suddenly gains wealth or power

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